I once heard a guy say, “Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining!” Thinking it was a humorous expression, I laughed, but when my oncologist and her nurse, whom I will refer to as Cashen and Comer from now on, pissed on my back and told me it was a warm shower, there was nothing funny about it. When I replay the events as they unfolded, which I do way too often for my own good, stress hormones and adrenaline dump into my blood stream and I want to punch those people. Now I have never punched anyone, and if I did, I would probably break my hand because I don’t even know how to make a proper fist. Still, the anger wants a physical outlet.
People who have never been victimized by a doctor, or at least don’t know that they have, will say things like, “Doctors are human; they make mistakes” or “You need to forget it and move on,” or “Forgiveness is the key to getting past the anger,” or “You’re only hurting yourself, you know, by staying mad.” I want to reply, “You go through two years of medical torture because your doctor fucked up and didn’t tell you about it, and then I might listen to what you have to say,” but I really don’t wish medical malpractice on anyone. Knowing that the doctor did not mean to hurt me does not help one iota because she concealed it from me once she realized her mistake. Heck, I didn’t even know medical institutions had risk management departments. I had never had a reason to think about it. Now that I have had dealings with Washington University’s Office of Risk Management, I know it’s staffed by a bunch of assholes who care more about money than they do human life.
George Grob, Assistant Inspector General for Evaluation and Inspections with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, writes in a memo, “Broadly defined, risk management includes any activity, process, or policy to reduce liability exposure.” So you see, risk management is nothing more than a euphemism for lying, either by omission or by telling untruths to avoid being sued. When Cashen and Comer realized they fucked up, they went to risk management, not to me, with the truth. Their loyalty was to saving the hospital money, not to me, their patient for over ten years. Betrayal, grief, anger, and frustration swim in my blood, stew in my belly, and climb into my throat looking for release, for a safe expression of unsafe feelings and desires. If you do not understand how I feel, I am happy for you. I hope these words never do ring true for you.